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Okeechobee County 

Health Department

Emergency Operations

(863) 462 - 5807

Steven Lasley serves as the Safety and Emergency Operations Director for the Okeechobee County Health Department (Okeechobee CHD). He works to coordinate our efforts with those of other local agencies, other state agencies as well as other offices of the Department of Health.

In August of 2002, William Casian was hired as the Bioterrorism Coordinator for Okeechobee County Health Department. He works to coordinate bioterrorism preparedness and training efforts in our County and in conjunction with the other 8 counties in Region 6.

For additional information please visit the website of Okeechobee County Emergency Management.

as early as 1999, the County Health Departments  began engaging in a wide range of measures designed to respond to and to mitigate the possible effects of a terrorist event.  These efforts have dramatically intensified since 9/11.


In February of 2002, Congress approved a multi-billion allocation in response to these events.  The bulk of this money is earmarked for the individual states for the enhancement of terrorist planning and response capabilities.  Florida is in the process of receiving approximately fifty million dollars of these funds.


A month after the tragic events, Florida created a Florida Regional Domestic Security Task Force (RDSTF), designed to strengthen the state¬ís capability to prepare and to respond to terrorist activities. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is overseeing this effort.  This action divided the state into seven geographic regions, roughly corresponding to the present FDLE regions.  Southwest Florida is part of Region 6, encompassing Lee, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Okeechobee and Sarasota counties. 


Each regional task force is composed of five subcommittees - Health/Medical, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Law Enforcement, Fire Services and Public Information.


Judith Hartner, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Lee County Health Department is the regional Chairperson of the Health/Medical Subcommittee for Region 6,  Michael Hill, M.P.A., M.P.H.(c) administrator of the Okeechobee County Health Department is the co-chair of the Health/Medical Subcommittee.



frequently asked questions


Is our region of Florida a real target for terrorism?
Any place in our country is a potential target for terrorists and Florida is not exempt.  However, this region has no obvious targets of national or international value. 

Is our region prepared to handle a terrorist incident?
Yes. Emergency response and health care personnel have been training and obtaining vital equipment, while police have been gathering intelligence information necessary to respond to a potential terrorist incident.  Local, State and Federal authorities already have people and equipment that can immediately respond to an incident.

What can we do as individuals?
Stay alert.  This helps reduce the risk.  Stay calm if an attack occurs.  This helps government agencies control the situation and protect you.


Biological Agents

  • Incubation calculated in days

  • Time to identify agent is 24-72 hours

  • There is generally adequate time to provide prophylaxis medications

Bacterial Agents Viral Agents Biological Agents
Q Fever
Equine Encephalitis
Viral Hemorragic Fever
Enterotoxin B


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[Some material from Lee County Health Department, used with permission]

This page was last modified on: 06/7/2007 02:50:33

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